Roof Maintenance Tips: How to Prevent Ice Dams


Do you have icicles hanging from the eaves of your house? While they are nice to look at, icicles spell problems for your roof and gutters. That’s because frozen snow and ice on your roof can create what’s called an ice dam at the eaves. An ice dam is a ridge of solid ice along an eave, which is the part of the roof that overhang’s the building. Ice dams cause all sorts of problems and can tear off your gutters, damage your shingles, and even result in water leaking into your house, possibly causing extensive water damage. Fortunately, you can prevent ice dams from occurring with these simple roof maintenance tips.


Ice Dams


How do Ice Dams Form?


Heat in the attic warms your roof, causing snow and ice to melt. But because the eaves overhang the building, they’re not warmed by the attic, so snow and ice don’t melt there. Not only that, but the snow and ice that are melting on the roof trickle down to the eaves and build up there. This creates a solid sheet of ice known as an ice dam.

As the snow on your roof continues to melt, the water can’t get past the ice dam. It can flow under the shingles and into your home, which may cause a lot of damage.


How Can I Prevent Ice Dams?


There are a number of ways to prevent ice dams. Here’s a safe and easy short-term fix.

  • Use a special roof rake – Special roof rakes are made out of aluminum and have long-handles that allow you to rake off the snow from the ground. Rake snow off of the eaves to prevent it from building up and creating an ice dam. You should be able to find a roof rake at your local hardware store.
  • Do not risk climbing on your roof. If you have a multilevel home, consult a professional.


Ice and Water Shield


  • For a long term solution, consider ice and water shield. Ice and Water Shield is a roofing material made from a rubberized asphalt mixtures that adheres to the wood sheathing under your roof’s shingles. This product prevents leaks that can occur as a result of ice dams, wind-driven rain, or damaged shingles. If you’re installing a new roof, or replacing your old roof, ask your roofer about increased protection from leaks with Ice and Water Shield.


For all of your roofing needs, you can trust Schaefer Siding and Exteriors. We’ve been installing and repairing roofs in the Mid-Atlantic region since 1977. Contact us today at 410-781-4028 or email us. You can also visit our website for more information.


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